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We’re told on a regular basis that email subscribers are a must when it comes to running your business. After all, your list can be a great way to share promotions, market yourself, and keep your finger on the pulse of your customers.

However, just having a huge list isn’t enough. Not all email subscribers are created equal. Some are definitely more equal than others. Keeping a big list full of unengaged subscribers could also hurt you in the long run.

Before you decide that bigger is always better, here’s why you should consider paring down that email list.

Your Future Effectiveness Could Be At Stake

When you have a largely engaged email list, future email subscribers are more likely to see your communications. A good open rate bodes well for your operation.

However, if your list is full of people who don’t open your emails, then it raises some red flags. Future subscribers might not see what you send out and that in turn contributes to the downward spiral of the effectiveness of your email list.

The reality is that main email service providers (think Gmail especially) use filters that “score” your email. If you have a lot of unopened emails, that changes your “reputation” in the scoring algorithm. Your emails could be filtered to the “Promotions” tab or relegated to the items deemed unimportant. And that means fewer people see them.

With increasing sophistication in our email inboxes, it’s important for you to keep up — and that means getting rid of email subscribers that don’t open what you send them. Consider deleting subscribers that haven’t open an email in six to nine months.

You’re More Likely to Be Flagged as Spam

This is death when it comes to your email list.

However, if you keep sending to unengaged email subscribers, eventually some of them could mark you as spam. This can be a big problem since it reduces your effectiveness. Deleting them before they can do a purge on their own can reduce the chance that you will be marked as spam.

The truth is that, even though many people sign up for lists, they eventually get tired of the huge volume of email coming to their inboxes. Most email subscribers simply unsubscribe and move on. Others, though, either accidentally or on purpose, mark your mail as spam. When that happens, your “reputation” drops and your emails are less deliverable.

Head off this problem by getting rid of the subscribers first.

Focus on Engaged Email Subscribers

Pruning your list allows you to focus more on engaged email subscribers who are more likely to click on your campaigns and follow through and convert.

Stop looking at the size of your email list as an indicator of success. Size really isn’t as important as engagement. If you have engaged subscribers, you can tailor your message, target those who are most likely to benefit from what you offer, and have a better overall experience and return for your email marketing dollar.